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June 9, 2014

Erik Spoelstra


Miami Heat - 98
San Antonio Spurs - 96

Q.  Coach, talk about how important it was to keep them out of the paint down the stretch of the game.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  We were struggling with it in the first quarter.  It seemed like every time we looked up, Tony Parker was in the paint, Duncan was in the paint.  It's much easier said than done.
With their three?point spacing, the way they move the ball, you just have to try to make as many plays, as many efforts every single possession and more efforts than you're normally typically used to making at present.

Q.  Did you make it a point to keep the ball out of Tim Duncan's hands in the end?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  No, we've been making a point of it for two games trying to keep him out of the paint and sometimes it looks like that's part of the game plan, but, you know, they're a great team.

Q.  Talk about aggressiveness and some of the plays down the stretch that Chris Bosh made.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Yeah, with us, look, he's arguably our most important player.  We've said that now for four years.  And it's not just because of that shot.  That's what everybody notices, and if he's not getting the normal opportunities, and he's not scoring, or doesn't have big rebound numbers, it seems from the outside everybody is so critical about his game.  But for us he has a lot on his plate.
He's a two?way player on both ends of the court.  He has to facilitate and space the floor, and he has to find opportunities to be aggressive.  It's a tough balance.  He's versatile enough and important enough for us that he's been able to find that.

Q.  What has been the key for you to keep his mind right and keep him ready for his opportunities?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  He's stable.  One of the most stable mentally tough guys I've ever been around.  That's why it raises the hair on the back of my neck when people question him.  He has absolutely championship DNA.  It's that mental toughness that comes through because he understands he's going to be criticized from the outside, because of how we ask him to play, which is paramount, that's critical for our success.

Q.  What was your approach to managing LeBron's minutes tonight?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  We talked about it beforehand.  I said I wouldn't initially let him go the twelve minutes.  We would go from there.  So I would take him out in the first quarter, take him out in the third quarter, give him an extra sub in the second quarter, if he needed it, and communicate through the course of the game.  He was able to play 37 and a half minutes but you could tell he was getting enough rest.  During the course of the game and with the timeouts, he seemed fresh at the end.

Q.  Pop was just in here, he said either you move it or you die, talking about ball movement.  Is ball movement as important to you guys as it is to their team?

Q.  They don't have a LeBron James.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  We're built a little bit different but we're built on player and ball movement, it's just in a different way.  You'll hear both sides saying that throughout the course of this series.  When you're able to get that movement or you're not able to get to it and obviously I we don't take it for granted for having an end?of?the?period possession like LeBron.

Q.  If you addressed this earlier I apologize, but you've addressed toughness and resiliency all those things, particularly during this postseason run.  There were long stretches where this was not going right, no rhythm or flow.  Did you say anything or is it in their DNA to find a way?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  It's not definitely something I said.  We've been through enough of these situations that you have to play through all the ups and downs, and you have to play through doubt, which is a powerful thing.  You have to play through when it's going your way, and you have to keep an even keel while somehow keeping a ferocity to your play.
But the mental toughness starts two days ago of having to go through the film and trying to own what we could do better.

Q.  When you talk about the right basketball play, he got ripped for making the pass to Chris in Indiana for the three and tonight it works out being the right play.  Is that something you have to discuss with him or he just does it?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  No, he with haven't discussed that kind of thing since the first year.  It's the theater of the absurd when you're dealing with what plays he makes at the end of the game.  He makes the right basketball play, we trust him to make the right plays.
We know the process is right.  Make or miss it, it opens up for noise from outside.

Q.  Anything differently defensively?  Second half the ball seemed to be more stagnant for the Spurs than in the first half.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  I don't know.  Both teams were trying to get to their identity.  It's tough, neither team is making it easy on the other team.  You have two very experienced, veteran, playoff?tested teams.  That's what you're looking at.

Q.  Coach, how is it having the big three to be able to find a way to get it done for the last four years, how does that make your job easier?  They've seen everything you can throw at 'em and they find a way to get it done.
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  I don't know.  The series is just beginning.  I'm not thinking really about that.
Obviously an incredible luxury.  I don't take this for granted.

Q.  When you have someone like LeBron how does it affect that Chris Bosh can step up and make the three?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  It's important for our spacing.  Chris has a lot on his plate and he gets criticized similar to LeBron, for having to play that role for us.  It happened to go tonight, didn't go in the Indiana game last series.  Either way we were happy with it, it's the process that's the most important thing.

Q.  Coach, was this the type of game you expected from LeBron James after two days of a lot of media and news, criticism around the world for him for the last performance?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Look, he's the best player in the game.  Does that mean it's going to be 37?  You don't know.  He has an incredible way to put his fingerprints on a game in a lot of different areas.  We have a very competitive group and you have two days to commiserate how that game went down.  It was frustrating, painful going through that for two days and now we have to manage the other emotion.  That can be just as challenging.
In 48 hours we have to get ourselves right and a similar mindset of desperation and mental toughness to go into Game 3.

Q.  Coach, Rashard Lewis 14 points, Birdman 9 rebounds and great fourth?quarter defense on Tim Duncan.  Could you talk about their contributions tonight?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA:  Yeah, they're great pros.  Might look easy from the outside for veteran players to sacrifice and give up minutes.  They could probably get more other places but they understand the big picture and what this team is built for.  Rashard at times this year wasn't playing, but he kept himself ready.  And you can't just step into an environment if you're not putting in hours and hours of time behind the scenes.
So those guys are critical to our success at playing our depth, but it might be somebody different next game.  And we have guys that will be ready if that happens.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach. 

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